Take advantage of this respite from the El Nino rains and eat outside at Pho Ba Co in Irvine. Bring the dog. Pets are allowed out here. To eat, skip the pho and opt for the special combo. It’s a noodle soup that employs crinkly yellow egg noodle instead of pho’s usual white strands—think ramen noodles, but chewier, submerged in a light broth. Included in the bowl is a fried wonton skin disc and a leaf of butter lettuce. You could eat the wonton skin ASAP, or dunk it even deeper into the bowl to let it soak in the soup—it tastes good either way. For protein, there’s cha siu pork, but the best part of the dish is actually the meatballs. Textured with bits of chewy tendon in it, they taste homemade.
Whatever you do, just go before the rain starts. Along with being one of the most consistent, well-managed and longest running Vietnamese restaurants in the Land of Bren, it’s also the only Vietnamese restaurant I know of where you have the option to slurp your noodles outside, with Fido by your side.
4250 Barranca Pkwy. Ste K, Irvine, CA 92604, (949) 857-8808; phobaco.net